At next week's debate, open with this. It will elevate you, flummox the entire political class and make it so that the conversation with Bernie doesn't do harm.
"I do not know of any single detail where Bernie's values and mine diverge. I am determined that women are free and equal. So does he. I am determined to protect the environment. So is he. I believe that economic inequality has gone way too far. So does he. Gun control. Labor. Health care. If there is a place where his goals and mine are not the same. If he wins the nomination, I will support him with all my heart and be glad for the country when he wins.
"But, we have an election and we need to provide a way for you to decided who to vote for and that means that we both need to explain the places were we differ. It's not our goals. It's our tactics. The things we think need to be done to achieve our goals.
"I have worked a lot of jobs in national government. Starting with First Lady - and yes, I promise, that was a job and a hard one, through the Senate and Secretary of State. Along the way, I have participated in the Clinton Global Initiative and run an effective presidential campaign. Yes, I lost but not because I have no idea how to organize people and get things done.
"I explain this not because I believe I am 'all that and a bag of chips'. I just want to establish the fact that I am well experienced and that, as those of you who don't agree with me hear this, I hope to help you understand that I'm not stupid or evil. I am sincerely on your side and I know a lot about how to accomplish things on a national scale.
"The difference in our strategy comes down to this: I do not think that one can win in today's divided country by taking strong, unilateral positions. I know many of you think that's how the Republicans have behaved but I have to remind you, they are not winning. Starting with Obamacare, they have suffered a string of defeats and have literally accomplished nothing except keeping the Benghazi investigation alive.
"So, it's true that I'm more supportive of international involvement than he is. I think that active engagement is essential to representing our interests and encouraging better outcomes. There are risks to both treaties and military action but, I believe the risks of allowing events to unfold while watching from the distance are greater. I think it is crucial to support friendships and develop allies. I understand that there is often a price to be paid and risks to be faced but the benefits of international engagement leave us, overall, better off.
"While it's not true, as has been said, that I am a friend of Wall Street (and I have to say - and I know this doesn't come from Bernie - that the idea, at this late date in my life, that I could be bought for campaign donations is, well, it's not even insulting. It's silly.), it is true that I have a healthy respect for the role that corporations play in our economic system.
"It is probably true that some people committed crimes that were unjustly ignored, but it is also true that reality demands that we have banks and trading institutions and all the other functions executed on Wall Street. I agree with Bernie that Dodd Frank should be just the start but, I also think that the goal we share of having a more equitable distribution of wealth will never be achieved without the cooperation, hopefully voluntary, perhaps forced, of those companies. We can't just call them bad and shut them down.
"There are many other examples. The Senator and I come from different backgrounds and have different attitudes about life and conflict and getting things done. I am confident that, if he wins, he will do a lot of good things. But, I do not think he will be able to do so without adopting the, I'll call it, my attitude of realpolitik, my understanding that half of this country is fairly conservative and that Congress is probably still going to be under the thumb of the corporations and that we don't have infinite money or a broadly peaceful world, that we cannot say to our opponents, 'My way or the highway.'
"So, the case I make to earn your vote is this: I have a good strategy for getting things done. I have demonstrated my skills over the last twenty some years in many ways. I am tough and determined. Try to think of anyone in public life who has taken a beating more times but still came back to accomplish good things and keep moving forward. I have unparalleled experience and a good plan.
"But, I also understand that those plans that I have placed all over my website, that I have worked very hard to make as realistic and sincerely possible as I can, are going to be crushed in the face of events and the opposition of the Republicans. I believe that this perspective, which Bernie's partisans have tried to say makes me almost a Republican, is the best way to accomplish the goals that I share with Bernie. It's not that I am incapable of the determined passion that Bernie presents, it's that I think my approach is more likely to be effective.
"I think that Bernie Sanders will make a great president. If he is elected, he will uphold the highest values of our country and of American liberalism. But, I emphasize: So will I.
"If I am elected, you can be 100% certain that I will fight for women's rights, for labor rights, for economic parity, for the environment, for our position in the world including that of a decent leader of world events. We will, because I think I have the experience to do so, optimize our accomplishments in the battle against the Republicans and I think that I can do a good job of bringing people who are more conservative than me closer to seeing my view.
"We are lucky this season as Democrats to have no bad choices. You will not go wrong choosing Bernie but I believe choosing me will be better.
"One other thing. There are three other people in this race and, I apologize for my focus on Senator Sanders. The truth is that everyone who talks to me compares me to him, so I have become a little single-minded in thinking of him as 'the' competition. I know that's not true and I mean no disrespect. I know that you are good people with good values who would do a good job. As I said, we are very lucky this election season to have nobody taking the role of Trump or Cruz, people who are unqualified and have bad, even dangerous, opinions.
"But, I think you would do best to choose me. I believe that I am the most qualified person in this race because of my experience, understanding of how to get things done and my heart. I love this country and I love the people - including my opponents here.
"If you elect me, I will do a very good job. I will pursue good, liberal goals in a practical way that will, I think, optimize our opportunities.
"I guess some might say that it's a faint promise, but it's what I believe is the biggest responsibility of a president, fulfill the good goals of the American people in a way that optimizes our opportunities. If I am elected, I will do everything I can to improve the lot of the American people and to make America great."